fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
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Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "top secret" (scammers urge victims to keep the transaction secret because they don't want anyone to point out to them that it is a scam)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
Fraud email example:
From: "Mr. Johnson Kofi" (may be fake)
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2009 12:47:47 -0700
Subject: Business Proposal
From: Mr. Johnson Kofi.
The Manager International
Commercial Bank Ghana
First Light Branch
First I must solicit your confidence in this transaction, this is by virtue of its nature as being utterly Confidential and top secret. Though I know that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that this is real and genuine.
My name is Mr. Johnson kofi. I am the manager of the international commercial bank Ghana, first light branch. I am a Ghanaian married with two kids.
I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of us$2,500.000.00.
This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the manager made as profit during the last year. I have already submitted an approved end of the year report for the year 2008 to my head office here in Accra and they will never know of this excess.
I have since then, placed this amount of us$2,500.000.00 on a suspense account without a beneficiary.
As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account.
I intend to part 30% of this fund to you while 70% shall be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. Its going to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund.
If you accept this offer, I will appreciate your timely response.
Mr. Johnson Kofi